Ryan Williams

Ryan Williams

Ryan Williams, a 3rd-grade teacher at Mary Lee Cravens Elementary School in the Owensboro Independent school district, is Kentucky’s newest recipient of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, which includes a financial reward of $25,000.

Williams was notified of his award Tuesday, when Education Commissioner Terry Holliday, First Lady Jane Beshear, Milken Family Foundation Vice-President Jane Foley and local dignitaries visited his school.

Williams has taught since 1999 and is a National Board Certified Teacher. He earned a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University.

Williams is director of the Cravens iPad Academy, served on the school-based decision making council at Cravens and participated in the Owensboro Independent Academic Leadership program.

He is a member of the Owensboro Education Association, the Kentucky Education Association and the National Education Association.

As Kentucky’s Milken Family Foundation National Educator, Williams will receive a check for $25,000. There are no restrictions on the use of the award — the winners may use the money in any way they choose.

The award provides public recognition and a cash reward to elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and other education professionals. The foundation was established in 1985, and the first awards given in 1987. Kentucky has participated since 1993, with 53 recipients since then. This year, more than 50 educators nationwide were selected as winners.

The Milken Educator Network is a voluntary association of nearly 2,000 Milken Educators and other exemplary educators and business leaders from across the country who are dedicated to improving teacher quality and utilizing research and expertise to shape education policy at state and local levels. 

The Milken Family Foundation was established in 1982 to discover and advance inventive and effective ways of helping people help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives. The Santa Monica, California-based foundation advances this mission primarily through its work in education and medical research.